Co-evolution of immunity and seasonal influenza viruses


Seasonal influenza viruses cause recurring global epidemics by continually evolving to escape host immunity. The viral constraints and host immune responses that limit and drive the evolution of these viruses are increasingly well understood. However, it remains unclear how most of these advances improve the capacity to reduce the impact of seasonal influenza viruses on human health. In this Review, we synthesize recent progress made in understanding the interplay between the evolution of immunity induced by previous infections or vaccination and the evolution of seasonal influenza viruses driven by the heterogeneous accumulation of antibody-mediated immunity in humans. We discuss the functional constraints that limit the evolution of the viruses, the within-host evolutionary processes that drive the emergence of new virus variants, as well as current and prospective options for influenza virus control, including the viral and immunological barriers that must be overcome to improve the effectiveness of vaccines and antiviral drugs.